IBM’s ‘Corporate Peace Corps’ sent to tackle economy and IT in key emerging markets

by Editor 3/23/2009 3:13:00 PM
IBM's so-called "Corporate Peace Corps," a group of 200 future leaders from nearly 40 countries, are being sent to nine emerging countries to work on projects that combine economic development and IT. IBM’s experts are headed to China, Brazil, Malaysia and South Africa for the first time and will also be returning to Romania, Tanzania, Ghana, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The members of IBM’s “Peace Corps” possess skills in areas such as business consulting, information technology, finance, marketing, and supply chain management.

"The Corporate Service Corps helps high-potential employees develop smarter leadership skills while engaging organizations in emerging markets and helping them grow their business,” says Stanley S. Litow, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, IBM. “Not only do participants learn first-hand how business is done in local communities, but they share what they know with colleagues back home and gain a personal understanding of what it means to be a global citizen."

In 2008, IBM’s Corporate Peace Corps was involved in 36 projects that helped improve local businesses and organizations’ use of new technologies.

Project hosts were mostly satisfied with the program, citing business process improvements and a stronger ability to form new partnerships with other organizations in the private sector, NGOs and governmental agencies, after the experience of working with the IBM Corporate Service Corps.

The Harvard Business School studied the effect of the IBM team’s efforts and found that participants significantly increased their cultural intelligence and resilience as leaders.

Christopher Marquis, Assistant Professor, Harvard Business School, said: "We found that the experience gained by people working in teams on-the-ground in emerging markets made them much better equipped to deal with adversity and challenges -- an important factor in today's global age of distributed work, where there is a high level of ambiguity and lack of control.”

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